My Writing Process

Being a part of a writer’s community can have many wonderful benefits and one of those benefits, for me, has been learning from others how their writing process works.  From that I have learned that not one of us seems to have the same process.  It’s comforting to know that everyone seems to find their own personal way of turning the process of writing into something that works for them.  It’s comforting to know there is no one “right way” to do it.  Or a wrong way, for that matter.

A friend I’ve made recently through the local writer’s group asked me to be a part of the blog hop she’d been asked to participate in by another person from our group.  It’s worth noting that the gentleman, Larry Atchley, Jr., who asked her to join the blog hop is also a very talented writer and I look forward to reading more of his work and also in his blog.

Jessica kindly talked about me and recommended my blog last week.  She’s a talented writer and a kind person who is, as she says in her Twitter bio, “changing the ending of (her) story, and daring to begin a new one.”  I am very impressed with the goals she is setting for herself and with the honesty and beauty of the writing in her blog.  She posts samples of her work weekly and should have a collection out soon. I’m excited to see her do a reading of her work this week.  If you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth Area, be  sure to come out to the Half Price Books on Northwest Highway in Dallas on Wednesday (3/19) from 8-10 PM to hear some readings.

Jessica included me on this blog hop where we talk about our writing process.  I’m excited to participate and we can all promote it on Twitter with the #mywritingprocess hashtag.

The problem then became thinking about what my writing process really is and how to share that with anyone.  I’ve pondered it a bit, and this twitter post by @ChuckWendig (Campbell-nominated author of Blackbirds) seemed to sum up my process pretty well.

MY CREATIVE PROCESS :

1) This is Awesome

2) This is questionable.

3) I hate myself and this story.

4) Cry – Eat Cake

5) This is awesome.

Okay I am joking about this.  I don’t eat much cake.  🙂

But doubts that plague a lot of writers are no stranger in my writing process.  However, I’m learning to manage those a lot better.  The editor from my writer’s group will appreciate this if she is reading, I am beginning to trust my own voice as a part of this daily writing commitment I’ve set for myself.  Rather than going back and re-reading what I’ve written and tearing apart each bit of it until I’m completely unable to move on, I’ve begun just adding more wherever I feel that I can.  Then I go in and fill in pieces or move on to where I feel called to write next.  Essentially, I’ve finally given myself permission to just write.  That may sound silly or unnecessary, but let me assure you, it is not.  I remind myself of Hemingway’s quote that ‘the first draft of anything is shit.’  Perhaps this sounds harsh, but I find it freeing.  Yes, what I’m writing will need work.  Yes, I’ll have to edit it.  But I think what I’ve really gotten down to with my writing process after beginning to write every day is that I have to just put the words on the page.

And it feels great.  I am really excited today because I am really making progress in my book.  While I have stuck to my commitment to write every day, I haven’t always written a solid amount at each sitting.  Yesterday however, I set myself a solid word count goal.  Then I also forced myself to start tackling the ending to my current work in progress. I had an idea where it would go, but yesterday I promised myself I would write at least 5K and start that where I felt the ending would begin.  Not only did I meet my 5K minimum, I pushed past that to bring myself to the 70K total word count I have for my novel in progress.  I know of the 70K, at least 5-10K will be cut, but it still feels good to get myself to this point.  The big picture is coming together.

From this brief description, you may have figured out already, but I’m not an outliner.  I am not one who maps out my whole novel and then sits down to write.  No, I sit down and just write and let the story develop.  This has its advantages, my characters seem to present themselves to me and the story finds itself.  But it also has its disadvantages in that I am never quite sure where my story is going.  I am only just now getting a clear picture of what this book will be and where it is going.  I had an idea which got me started, but that initial idea has morphed and changed as I’ve gotten further into the story.

So what is my process?  It’s a good question, and I have to be honest, as a writer I am still finding my way.  But every day in my writing challenge seems to be bringing me closer to finding my way.  Maybe just the commitment to write is where I am winning in this process.  Maybe it is just the idea that every day I will make myself put words on the page.  Maybe that’s the key – just getting the words on the page.

Another key is surrounding myself with others I can learn from and be encouraged by.  I am fortunate to have met some really great people through this writing process.

One of these friends I met through my writer’s group.  She’s been very encouraging in my writer’s journey.  Even though she is taking a break from our group, I count her as a great source of encouragement and hope to stay in contact with her as I get my work closer to a point for real feedback.

Joanne Faries, originally from the Philadelphia area, lives in Texas with her husband Ray.

Published in Doorknobs & Bodypaint, she also has poems in Silver Boomer anthologies.

Joanne is the film critic for the Little Paper of San Saba. Look for her humorous memoir My Zoo World: If All Dogs Go to Heaven, Then I’m in Trouble, a story collection Wordsplash Flash and three poetry books – Wordsplash Poetry Puddle: Nature, Hazy Memory, and Tread Water on Amazon.

http://wordsplash-joannefaries.blogspot.com

Another friend, who I met through Twitter, has been encouraging both on Twitter and in comments on this blog.

Robyn LaRue is a Montana girl living in Texas (by way of several beautiful states).  Blessed with an active imagination and mean crayon skills, she wrote her first opus just before kindergarden (on her brother and the nearby wall).  Robyn and her husband live with two cats determined to put their fur in all food and drink, an adult son, and a precious toddler grandson.  Her first published novel debuts summer 2014

Her web site is www.robynlarue.com and though the front page is still under construction, the blog is up and running.  The “about me” page has extra information on it and  http://www.robynlarue.com/how-to-connect/.

Another is a friend who, like Jessica, is changing the end to her story.   I met Anna Kos through Twitter and it’s been a pleasure to read her blog posts. Anna writes about her life, her travels and things that interest her.

life-worth-loving.blogspot.com

Please go take a look at their blogs and also follow the #mywritingprocess hashtag on Twitter to see how others are working through or following their own writing process.

Have a great week!

7 thoughts on “My Writing Process

  1. Love it! Thank you for your kind words and for participating. I am so grateful that I was brought into the group, and I thank heaven every day for it. It has brought me such joy. I feel every day that there is definitely something at work in my life and guiding me to wherever it is I am supposed to be. I am very glad it brought you as well. I love reading your blog posts and can see your growing confidence in yourself. I can’t wait to read more of your writing. You rock!

  2. thanks for including me on your blog hop. Indeed, you are setting goals and reaching them. The bits of your book I’ve heard are great, and I hope you stay encouraged. Write, write, edit, write, and stay upbeat. You can do it!

  3. Hey CJ! I’ve been enjoying reading about your adventures as a writer. I have a question for you with regards to your writing group. They sound like a great group of supportive people. However, my experiences with writing groups is they have been judgmental, cliquey, and highly egocentric while playing “one upmanship” constant. (Not to mention that some of them are flat out bat sh** crazy). How do you find supportive, solid writing groups that allow you to grow? Does anyone in your group make money from what they do? Are they all aspiring writers of great novels? Any ideas you or your readers could give me would be much appreciated. Thanks!
    Lori

    1. I am extremely fortunate with my writer’s group. It is through the local library and the leader of the group sets up some very clear ground rules. Constructive criticism and encouragement welcome, but anything else is not allowed. So it is due in part to the quality leadership but also to just a great group of people that we don’t have any drama. 🙂

      This sounds like a great blog post actually – so I think that’ll be my next post. Thanks 😉

      And to answer the other questions, yes there are people in the group that are published. One makes a fair amount of money I think on her books and really puts the work out there consistently and successfully. She’s a great role model and offers insightful and very practical advice. Several others in the group have works published as well. Then there are those, like myself, who are endeavoring to actually finish something. 🙂 It is a great mix, really. We also write different styles – novels, poetry & essays. All different genres. It’s interesting.

      I may blog about this in more depth this week 🙂

  4. Awesome blog post, and thanks for the mention. The fact that you refer to me as a gentleman and a very talented writer warms my dark little heart. Flattery will get you everywhere. I would have asked you to be part of my blog hop but I don’t have your email or Facebook info, and I forgot I actually have your phone number in my phone after the fact, Sigh. I’m glad Jessica added you to hers. I am looking forward to reading more of your writing as well. Keep plugging away. You are a damn good story teller.

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